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Monday, October 2, 2023
HomeEditorialLingayat religious leader commits Suicide; he was exposed by a female disciple

Lingayat religious leader commits Suicide; he was exposed by a female disciple

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lingayat, lingayat seer, lingayat samaj, seers, sadhus, lingayat sadhus, hindu priets, hindu, hindu gurus

There are several cases of different Lingayat seers who are accused of Rape and molestation. Some cases hit the headlines and most of the cases go unreported due to community pressure. The community forms around 16-17% of the state’s population and over decades, has played a pivotal role in the Karnataka state elections. Perhaps this is the reason no political party or its leaders rake up these issues.

Recently, a 45-year-old Lingayat seer Basavalinga Swami was found hanging at 6 am from his prayer room’s window grille at Kanchugal Bande Mutt, which he headed, in Ramanagara district of Karnataka. Two names in the suicide note are connected to the mutt. His suicide note mentioned blackmail and harassment by “some people who wanted to remove him from his position. Generally, such conspiracy theories are an inevitable part of Mutts. Each one eye is on the higher position. The position brings not only wealth but political mileage too.

Some unidentified woman captured the private moments between the seer and her.  They were captured by the woman using her phone’s screen-recording function. The woman and a few others threatened the seer that they would release four obscene videos. Police got the leads on who these people are. We are investigating every angle possible. But the question here is why the seer got into such an act. Why he had to fall for free sex and obscenity?

There was politics within and outside the mutt. Some seers are well-connected with politicians, and they could pull strings to defame each other. But the suicide note has no mention of any politicians at all. Basavalinga Swami took over the 400-year-old mutt’s leadership at the age of 20 in 1997, and recently celebrated the silver jubilee. Sharanaru’s mutt is one of the most prominent and influential Lingayat maths in Karnataka.

Last December, the head of Chilume Mutt, also named Basavalinga Swamy, died by suicide in a similar fashion. He reportedly was upset over his failing health. The sect was founded in the 12th century by social reformer and poet Basaveshwara, who has a huge following in the south Indian states. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and his predecessor BS Yeddiyurappa come from the sect. The sect has BJP’s backing; Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took ceremonial initiation into it in August at Muruga Mutt, hoping to broaden the party’s appeal ahead of elections due in about six months.

Two weeks ago, a fresh case was registered against a Lingayat seer, Shivamurthy Sharanaru of Muruga Mutt in Chitradurga, who was in jail over rape allegations, after four minor girls alleged that they were sexually assaulted by him for years.  He was produced in court, which sent him to police custody till September 5. Following his arrest, 64-year-old Sharanaru was sent to jail where he developed health complications. He was taken to the district hospital where medical tests were conducted.

Sharanaru has been booked under provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for allegedly sexually abusing two high school girls, studying in a school run by the Math and staying in hostel also belonging to it. Sharanaru earlier claimed that the case against him is a conspiracy and said that he would come out clean. He claimed that the case was part of a long-drawn conspiracy against him. He indicated an inside job and vowed to come out clean. The seer also said he was law-abiding and would cooperate with the investigation.

The Mysuru city police filed an FIR against the seer under the POCSO Act and certain sections of the Indian Penal Code for the alleged sexual abuse. The FIR was registered against a total of five people, including the warden of the monastery’s hostel, based on the complaint by an officer of the District Child Protection Unit. Before some conclusion is drawn in this case, another Lingayat seer was honey trapped and forced to end his life.

Whenever there is a political crisis in Karnataka, mutts and seers of several religious organisations become active and often extend their support to leaders from different political parties. Today, when the tables have turned, with allegations of sexual harassment against Dr Shivamurthy Sharanaru, chief pontiff of Murugha Mutt, politicians of several parties in the state, have either remained silent or have extended their support to the seer, further cementing the fact that religious mutts in the state are extremely powerful, and can influence politicians and politics immensely.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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